(WASHINGTON) -- Americans who cheated on their taxes and fled the U.S. rather than pay their debts to Uncle Sam are being offered partial amnesty by the Internal Revenue Service.
In a plan announced Tuesday, the IRS says the agency is giving scofflaws outside the country the opportunity to settle their tax bills with the government and pay reduced fines without serving jail time under a new voluntary disclosure program that expires Aug. 31.
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman remarked that these tax evaders can either do it the easy way or they can make things tougher for themselves.
Shulman delivered the following message to citizens who've hidden their assets elsewhere: "If we find you, you face harsher penalties and the possibility of jail time. If you come in voluntarily, you pay a steep price but avoid going to jail."
This new program isn't quite as forgiving as a 2009 program that found 15,000 tax cheats living abroad with offshore accounts. In all, about 2,000 of those cases have been closed with the IRS getting back approximately $400 million.
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